At Teach For America –
Connecticut, we are building individual and collective leadership in
partnership with students, families, and communities so that, one day, all
students in low-income and historically oppressed communities will grow to
attain a wide-range of self-determined opportunities in life, opportunities not
limited by systemic injustices but reflecting children’s fulfilled potential.
In 2006, nearly 45 Teach For America corps members began their commitment teaching in New Haven schools. Today, we have nearly 200 teachers leading classrooms in Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, Windham, and most recently New Britain. Joining them, more than 500 alumni live and work in Connecticut across multiple sectors; more than a third of our alumni remain in the classroom and nearly two-thirds remain in the field of education.
During the two year corps commitment, our teachers exert their leadership to drive change from within their classrooms and are supported in doing so with intensive coaching, leadership development, and robust programmatic supports. With these supports, they learn critical lessons about what is possible for children growing up in poverty, and the leadership and commitment required to bring dramatic and lasting change to our communities. Our alumni go on to enlist their leadership to enact change at all levels of the system across many sectors
Wendy Kopp proposed the idea for Teach For America in her Princeton University undergraduate thesis in 1989. In 1990, a charter corps of 500 committed recent college graduates joined Teach For America and began fueling the movement to eliminate educational inequity. Since then, nearly 33,000 participants have reached more than 3 million children nationwide during their two-year teaching commitments. They have sustained their commitment as alumni, working within education and across all sectors to help ensure that children growing up in low-income communities get an excellent education.
Given the magnitude of the educational inequity, we have aggressively worked to grow and deepen our impact. Our corps members and alumni have helped accelerate the pace of change as teachers, principals, elected officials, social entrepreneurs, and leaders in all fields. Alongside many others, they have proven that classrooms, schools and now whole communities can transform the life trajectories of all students, regardless of background.
In Connecticut, nearly 200 teachers are leading classrooms in Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven, New Britain, Hartford, and Windham, reaching 12,000 students. Alongside them more than 500 alumni are working in education and other sectors across the state towards a day when there is a consistency in access to excellent educational opportunities for all children in Connecticut.
We have unequivocal evidence that Teach For America is playing a critical role in changing the face and the future of public education in the United States. Last September, Mathematica Policy Research published a national study that found, on average, that Teach For America secondary math teachers propelled their students to an additional 2.6 months, or 25% more, of learning over the course of a year when compared to other math teachers, including veteran teachers, in the same school. State-wide studies - in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee - of the relative effectiveness of teacher education programs consistently place Teach For America at or near the top in terms of participants’ impact on student achievement. And 91% of principals participating in an external national survey say they would recommend hiring corps members to their colleagues.
We know that in order for every child in Connecticut to receive a world-class education we need exceptional teachers, high performing classrooms, talented and dedicated school leaders, and leadership across a system that is functioning in extraordinary ways to make decisions that are good for kids. Teach For America - Connecticut has been building a diverse movement of leaders; over the course of their two-year commitment, corps members have the opportunity to drive change from within their classrooms not only by helping their students achieve significant academic outcomes, but also by encouraging them to pursue path-changing opportunities.
It is the work of our alumni that provides evidence that we can see dramatic improvements reach scale in Connecticut. As more and more pressure is put on the public education system to improve, we are ensuring a steady pipeline of talent that is responsive to the demand for strong leadership and can implement the necessary change. We’ve seen in systems across the nation that while Teach For America teachers continue to make up a minority share of new teacher hires, alumni of the program are at the heart of change initiatives. In Connecticut, the need for leadership at every level is critical and we must continue to explore how to retain more leaders while making considerable investments in strengthening our alumni support and leadership development programs. We are committed to continuing to support our corps and alumni to become exceptional leaders in education, moving us closer to the day when all kids in Connecticut have access to an excellent education.
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Educate a child and you change a community. For the child, a good education means better career opportunities and higher lifetime earnings. College graduates enjoy better health and are more inclined to volunteer and vote. For the community, supporting our youths’ educational goals results in a stronger society.
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